With tape still wrapped around his bruised throwing hand after practice, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo insists that he will be ready to play in what is essentially a playoff game against the New York Giants.
"Everything's coming together like we thought, just each day it's getting a little bit better," Romo said Thursday. "We'll be good to go this weekend."
Romo wore the protective wrap on his swollen right hand, the one he banged on a defender's helmet on the opening series Saturday against Philadelphia before coming out of the game. The wrap leaves his fingers and thumb free. He wasn't wearing anything on the hand Wednesday.
The Cowboys go on the road to face the Giants on Sunday night, a matchup of 8-7 teams that will decide the NFC East and fill the NFC's last playoff spot.
Romo, who played through a broken rib early this season, said he isn't worried about whether he will feel normal Sunday.
"You have to go out there and practice all week and get yourself ready to go to the game on Sunday. I'm excited that we're in this position and we have an opportunity to go and play in a big game like this," he said. "This is when it gets fun. No matter what, you're not going to sit one of these out."
During the few minutes early in practice open to reporters Thursday, Romo came out of the locker room wearing the protective wrap and made a few soft tosses. He was also bantering with teammates.
"Tony did a little bit more today than he did yesterday. I wouldn't constitute a full practice, but he's making some progress," coach Jason Garrett said. "The swelling still is there. ... All the functional things that a quarterback has to do, he has to be able to do by game time, and he's making progress in all those areas."
QB Garrett takes reps
Garrett said backup quarterback Stephen McGee, who finished Saturday's game after Romo got hurt, got some work with the first-team offence again Thursday.
Even with the rib injury in Week 2 and not playing much last week against Philadelphia, Romo has already thrown for 3,895 yards and 29 touchdowns. He still has a chance for his third 4,000-yard passing season and his second year with at least 30 TDs. No other Dallas quarterback has reached 4,000 yards or 30 TDs in a season.
Romo threw for 321 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 37-34 home loss three weeks ago against the Giants, who overcame a 12-point deficit in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
Dallas might have already clinched the division had it won that game.
"It's obvious that this is basically a playoff game. For us, it's been great energy all week. Guys are ready to go, and they're excited," Romo said.
The quarterback's bruised hand just adds another twist to the important game.
"A lot of quarterbacks throughout the league play through stuff every week," Romo said. "Sometimes it can be magnified because you're playing in a game that's like this. … No one cares, and once you get out there, it's about winning and losing, so that's all it's going to be about."
Romo said he won't decide until later this week about whether to wear tape on his hand during the game. He never said how much pain he was feeling, saying only that, "like anything, you just have to deal with it and overcome it."